Rwamakondera dance troupe is a new project by Ivuka Arts Studios directed by Colin Sekujo. It aims to showcase Rwandan cultural dances trough children across the globe. The children who were once street children are now dancers and ambassadors of Rwandan cultural dance.
“I formed the group after seeing children begging for money on the streets. I saw potential in them and was moved to help them out,” says Sekujo.
The founder points out that he knew that if the children were taught a skill then they would earn from it. He says that he felt obliged to equip them with skills that would earn them their daily bread.
“These children not only need skills but a place to belong. They lacked love and appreciation and I wanted to create an environment that they would be free to be what they dreamed of being. So I brought them to Ivuka studios and taught them how to dance.”
They need to be mentored and appreciated on individual basis so that they can reach out for all opportunities available for them. After a long time training the children are now a renowned dance troupe in Rwanda.
“It’s a great joy for me to see what these children have become. They were once on the streets and now they don’t have to beg anymore. They benefit from their skill. The project is both encouraging and successful.”
Representing the dancers, Phillipe Mugisha said: “In the troupe we have learned not only to dance but how to love each other. We are united by our love for dance. We are happy to be able to show the world our cultural dance. We are happy to be able to dance not just in Rwanda but in the World.”
Program Coordinator Paradais Winslet says that the Rwamakondera project is committed to helping each child to develop confidence that will allow them to raise voices and express themselves.
“We believe in this children and that’s why the group was formed. They are creative and energetic and can do more together than as individuals. We train them because we know they potential and we need the world to see it too,” Winslet said.
The children are taught not only dance but also self expression. Winslet points out that the trainers are the children’s Mentors and cheerleaders as they help them develop personal drive.
“We allow the children to explore their talents and abilities by giving them a platform of self expression. In the troupe they are able to do more than they could have ever done alone.” The troupe performs both traditional and modern dances.
“They perform many types of dances such as Intere, Amanaba, conteplorary dances. They dance to different varieties of music.”
The children recently travelled to Holland where they performed in Via Mondo Festival in Tilburg. The festival was host to major dance troupes across the world.
“The children were selected to represent Africa and it was a big achievement for them and for the country. This was just the beginning the troupe promises to go even further to bigger festivals across the world,” Sekujo concluded.
Rwamakondera children have found their voice and now are out there shouting it out for the world to hear and for all Rwandans to know that it is possible to dream and become.